To Step Back & Let New People Direct the Conversation

AidenAn announcement from our comrade up north Aiden Enns (right) of Geez Magazine:

After much reflection and in close conversation with the board of directors, I’ve decided that now is a good time for me to retire from my
post as editor of Geez magazine. I plan to make the Winter 2017 edition my 48th and final issue.

Geez magazine started 12 years ago under the tagline, “holy mischief in
an age of fast faith” in order to poke and prod at the pitfalls of
mainstream religion. Continue reading

Whose Violence? Which Insurgence?: White Supremacy in the Mirror of Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation

Nat TurnerBy Dr. James Perkinson, Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit, MI), prepared comments presented at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church’s “Social Justice Forum,” October 21, 2016 in response to the film

It was a Jewish man, Walter Benjamin, during WWII, who once said, “Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if [it] wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious” (Benjamin, 255)

Nat Turner’s spirit is buried beneath the shouts and cries (Cone, 61)

It is a deep honor to be asked to offer a few words in memory of so courageous and clear a spirit of resolve as Nat Turner. It is an honor doubly difficult to measure up to in that my skin is white and my life circumstance therefore privileged with respect to Turner’s color and condition and the people whose struggle for justice he represented with such determination and daring that it presaged the only resolution of the institution of slavery white people would accept. War. And it is a war that has never yet ceased. And so my standing here today is not innocent. Continue reading

A Rolling Plowshares

DAPLIf you haven’t already, meet Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, Catholic Workers from Des Moines, Iowa, who secretly carried out multiple acts of sabotage and arson in recent months in order to stop construction of the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. These are excerpts from a longer interview with Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow.Org:

Ruby Montoya on what they did:

So, on election night, we went to a DAPL easement site in Buena Vista County, and we saw over six or seven pieces of heavy machinery there. And we went with our supplies, and we filled these coffee canisters up with gasoline and oil. We placed those coffee canisters on the inside of the cabs of these heavy machinery, on the seats, and we pierced those coffee canisters so that the flammable liquids would spread. We then lit matches and—in efforts to make those machines obsolete.

We acted after having exhausted all other avenues of political process and resistance to this petroleum pipeline that, to my knowledge, is the largest in the United States as far as the capacity that it is able to carry the oil.

Continue reading

An Introduction to the Prophetic Imagination

LogoA message from Mark Van Steenwyk of Twin Cities-based The Center for Prophetic Imagination, who is offering two compelling courses this Fall, as well as “An Introduction to the Prophetic Imagination” weekends in August and September:

The Center for Prophetic Imagination is a member-based nonprofit. We offer education, arts, and activist initiatives to help people turn from the false promises of empire and embrace God’s vision for the world.

Will you join us in working to co-create a world where all walls of alienation are torn down and all people live justly with each other, with the land, and with the Spirit of Life?

By becoming a member, you will:

  • receive a 10% discount on all events and training we offer (workshops, conferences, retreats, and more)
  • receive a special quarterly newsletter with links to free resources.
  • have access to our fee-based webinars for free.
  • be invited to nominate/approve board members, approve our annual budget, and ratify any amendments to our bylaws.
  • feel warm feels for helping us do important work in the world.

Find out more here.

Peace and Resistance,


Mark Van Steenwyk
Executive Director 
The Center for Prophetic Imagination

Subverting the Script

Aireys, Early 20sBy Tommy Airey, co-editor RadicalDiscipleship.Net 

In the early 1980s, historian William Appleman Williams described the state of affairs in the United States in the title of his book Empire As a Way of Life.  For centuries, The Imperial Script has called for “manifest destiny,” imposing our political, social and economic policies on people all over the world—from the genocide of native Americans in “the new world,” to importing slaves from Africa, to imperialist wars with countries from Mexico to Iraq, stealing land, resources and cultures. The United States was, and continues to be, built on what Dr. Lily Mendoza calls “the undeniable debris of dead bodies, stolen wealth, and the enslavement of other beings, both human and non-human.” These were the secret steroids injected into my family’s “success” story. Continue reading

Shareholder Activists Take On Exxon-Mobil

Sister Pat

Dominican Sr. Patricia Daly. (Courtesy of Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment)

An important report from National Catholic Reporter’s Brian Roewe on shareholder activism:

When ExxonMobil shareholders overwhelmingly voted in late May in favor of a resolution aimed at shedding light on the impacts of addressing climate change on the oil company’s long-term assets, Dominican Sr. Patricia Daly was among those beaming brightest.

“This was very sweet,” said the director emeritus of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, which spans Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

Through investment groups like the coalition, which comprises 40 Catholic institutions, and the larger Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, she and other faith-based investors have been working for two decades to bring about change at Exxon in how it recognizes and responds to climate change.

At the annual ExxonMobil meeting in Dallas May 31, the shareholder resolution, co-filed by the New York Common Retirement Fund and the Church of England and joined by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and 50 other institutions representing $5 trillion in managed assets, received 62.3 percent of the shareholders’ vote — the highest ever at Exxon for a climate-related measure.

The resolution, which Exxon opposed, seeks for the world’s largest energy company to produce an annual report of the long-term impacts on its oil and gas reserves from global climate policies aimed at restricting average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and as low as 1.5 degrees C — the primary goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which calls for drastic cuts in carbon emissions and a global shift toward a zero-carbon economy in order to meet the 2 C target and avert the worst climate impacts.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

The Fierce Urgency of Now

FierceBy Ched Myers, originally posted in the June 2017 BCM eNews

Note: Below are edited and excerpted comments from Ched’s keynote to the annual dinner of the Cal-Pac Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action and Reconciling Ministries Network, at the University of Redlands, CA on June 17, 2017.

It’s a formidable task to come up with 15 minutes of inspiration and exhortation to a group like this, given that your vocations have long been forged around the work of inspiring and exhorting. So I’ll leave that task to one who inspired and exhorted all of us, and does so still: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the author of tonight’s thematic meme: “The fierce urgency of now.”

It is both relevant and poignant that this very phrase anchored two of Dr. King’s most famous public addresses, speeches that bracketed the second half of his public career as a civil rights leader. It first appeared in his most well-known exhortation to the nation–you know, that one in front of the Lincoln memorial on Aug 27, 1963. “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now,” intoned our greatest prophet. “Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”
Continue reading